It’s officially called as the Annual Player Seletion Meeting, but fans, the media and the league call it the NFL Draft. And this week, both ESPN and NFL will provide full coverage for three days starting this Thursday, April 28 through Saturday, April 30. One of the biggest bones of contention in the past was that they would “spoil” picks ahead of time, removing the drama for viewers. Even with the pick tipping, the Draft was one of the most-viewed events of the spring for both networks.
But going into the 2016 Player Selection Meeting in Chicago, but networks say they will again not tip picks via their social media accounts or on TV to assuage viewers. ESPN’s producers tell SI.com that its policy will remain in place unless there’s a major trade between teams or breaking news.
NFL Network says it won’t tip picks on at least the first two nights of the Draft and will keep the suspense for fans throughout its coverage.
The whole idea of tipping or “spoiling” picks has been a question for networks and their insiders for years. While reporting the news as it breaks has been number one for insiders who have been trained to break once they receive the information, viewers who watch the draft and monitor social media at the same time do not like being informed ahead of time. Their complaints have been heard by the networks and ESPN’s NFL coordinating producer Seth Markman tells SI that it’s all about the viewers and making their experience as satisfactory as possible:
“For us it is the simple philosophy of listening to our viewers,” Markman said. “I have seen the criticism from some critics or other reporters (who say that withholding information goes against the primary tenet of journalism) but as I have said in the past, every time we have done research on this it has been an absolute landslide that our viewers have asked to watch the show and not have any of our talent spoil the experience.”
So ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s insiders won’t be spoiling anything for fans who want to know who their team will be selecting. It’s all part of keeping fans interested so unless they follow other NFL reporters who aren’t following this tenet, they should be able to watch spoiler-free.